Does A Wood Burning Stove Need A Hearth?

In Wood Burning Stoves by James O'Kelly

With traditional open wood burning fireplaces you’ll typically find a hearth located at the base of the fireplace, which helps to provide a barrier between the heat of an open fire and the floor of your home.

Wood burning stoves are commonly installed within open fireplaces, but can also be placed in many other locations around a home that can safely support a stove.

A fire inside a stove is contained behind a metal body with no access to the flames without opening the stove door, so does a wood stove need a hearth?

All wood stoves will require a sufficiently sized hearth. The body of a wood stove is designed to get very hot and a hearth provides a barrier between a stove and the floor of a home. The required size of a hearth will be dictated by your local and national building regulations, but a hearth must extend a certain distance away from a stove.

We have a number of stoves in the family and all of them are placed on a suitably sized and deep hearth.

We’ve therefore explained in more detail below using our own stoves as examples why a wood stove needs a hearth, what the options are for hearths and what size and depth a hearth needs to be.

Does A Wood Burning Stove Need A Hearth?

We have a complete guide to what fireplace hearths are in another article here, but they are essentially the flat surface typically found at the base of an existing open fireplace or other stove appliance

Hearths need to be constructed from a fire-resistant material, such as concrete, granite or stone, so that the floor of a home is protected as much as possible from the heat of a fire.

Wood stoves can commonly be installed within existing open fireplaces.

The availability of a chimney and hearth means that a wood stove can in many cases be installed without any structural changes required to the existing fireplace.

Both our stoves have been installed into existing open fireplaces, and both of the hearths were of sufficient size and depth to accommodate installation of the stoves.

Our wood burning stove located on a suitably sized and deep hearth
Wood Burning Stove
Our multi fuel stove, also placed on a suitable hearth

Hearth’s need to be of a sufficient size so that there’s enough room around the sides and back of the stove, as well as extending out the front of the stove into the room.

A stove also needs to be positioned on a hearth so that there is sufficient distance between the stove and any surrounding non-combustible materials. Required offset distances to combustible materials typically require further offset distances.

A hearth also needs to be of sufficient depth to provide the right amount of space between a stove and the floor of a home.

Stoves can also be very heavy. Our multi fuel stove weights over 270lbs (120kg) and so a hearth must also be able to cope with the weight of a stove.

A hearth is therefore essential for any wood burning stove.

Our stoves are installed on existing concrete and stone hearths that were present within the existing open fireplaces, both of which were deemed of sufficient size and depth to accommodate the stoves when they were installed.

Our wood stove is located on a suitably deep concrete hearth
Our multi fuel stove is placed on a stone hearth

Wood Stove Hearth Requirements

The size of a hearth that will be used for a wood burning stove will be influenced by your local and national building regulations, so how big should a hearth be for a wood burning stove?

The NASD provides details on clearances and requirements for a hearth when installing a wood burning stove.

If you’re in the in the UK you can find what size of hearth is required and offset distances for wood stoves in Part J of the Building Regulations.

Wood Stove Hearth Pads

If you’re planning on installing a wood stove anywhere else in your home that isn’t within an existing fireplace then you’ll also need to have a sufficient hearth located underneath it.

You can have one constructed if you’re looking for a more permanent solution, or you can buy a hearth pad on which to place your wood burning stove.

Hearth pads work just like a real hearth and help to protect the floor of your home, but can be placed and removed more easily.

Hearth pads also come in a range of sizes and styles to suit the location of a stove in your home.

You can find the complete range of hearth pads available here.


A hearth is required when installing a wood burning stove in a home.

A hearth must be sufficiently sized and deep to provide a safe barrier between the floor of your home and a stove, for the hearth to extend a certain distance away from each side of a stove, and for the stove to be a safe distance away from any nearby combustible or non-combustible materials.

The size and depth of a hearth for a wood stove will need to be in line with your local and/or national building regulations.

A hearth within an existing open fireplace can be used in many cases as long as it satisfies the requirements for size and depth, or a hearth pad can be used if installing a wood stove elsewhere in a home.

Further Reading

A Complete Guide To Fireplace Hearths

How Long Wood Stoves Last

Are Wood Stoves Worth It?

How A Wood Burning Stove Works